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Rarely heeded SHIBOR makes a comeback

A rarely heeded Chinese benchmark, the Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (SHIBOR), is enjoying new popularity amid a shifting interest rate outlook and easing regulatory barriers.

Signs of monetary tightening are on the horizon as the economy recovers and inflation appears ready to return by year-end, boosting demand for floating rate notes and interest rates swaps using SHIBOR.

And the steady, if gradual, opening of the market to foreigners - with Citigroup Inc approved just this month as a market maker in China's inter-bank bond market - will expand the role of players with expertise and interest in using SHIBOR.

China has been eager to develop the benchmark, which was launched in 2007.

Modeled after London's LIBOR as a commonly accepted money market interest rate curve, it aims to replace heavily regulated deposit and lending rates as a benchmark and will be vital to China's plan to make Shanghai a global financial center by 2020.

But aside from a few signs of interest spurred mostly by central bank prodding, SHIBOR has largely been collecting dust.

Money market traders long shunned it, complaining that contributors of the quotes - mostly cash-rich Chinese banks overwhelmingly on the offering side of transactions - tended to manipulate fixings to keep rates high and maximize their profits.

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 Source : China Daily  Editor: Ivy
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